Naseem Shah emerged as the unlikely hero as Pakistan defeated Afghanistan in a low-scoring Asia Cup Super 4 thriller at the Sharjah Cricket stadium on Wednesday. Naseem, known for his bowling, sent the entire team into an emotional meltdown as he wrapped up the proceedings in some style for Pakistan. With 11 required in the final over of the 130-run chase, the tail-ender smashed Afghanistan pacer Fazalhaq Farooqi for consecutive sixes to drive his side home by one wicket and secure a place in the final.
However, with the match poised for a thrilling finish, an ugly exchange between Asif Ali and Fareed Ahmed made headlines. The incident transpired in the penultimate over of the run chase, shortly after Asif’s dismissal, which saw the Pakistan batter hurl his bat at Fareed, almost hitting the Afghanistan pacer as tempers flared. Asif smashed Fareed Ahmad for a six off the fourth ball of the over but was out caught in the next while attempting to hit another maximum. He was done by a shower short delivery, which took the edge of his bat and landed in Karim Janat’s hands at short fine leg.
Also Read: India knocked out of Asia Cup after Pakistan beat Afghanistan in low-scoring Super 4 thriller
Soon after the dismissal the two were seen exchanging words in the middle of the pitch, before other Afghanistan members joined and separated the duo. It all began with the Fareed making an angry gesture while he was standing close to Asif. The Pakistan batter apparently took exception to it, lost his temper and pushed the bowler, almost getting physical in the process. The next over saw Naseem whack Farooqi for two sixes off the first two balls, and secure a thrilling win for his side.
Here is the video:
“When I went in to bat. I had the belief to hit the sixes. I practice (hitting sixes) and I knew they would bowl yorkers as they had the field up. There needs to be belief, we keep practicing in the nets and I also changed my bat, it worked. When I went in Asif was there and my job was to give him strike but once he got out the onus was on me. There is very little belief when you are nine down but I had the self-belief and this will be a memorable game for me. This was an important match as we knew a win today and we would be in the final,” Naseem, Pakistan’s man of the moment, said during the post-match presentation ceremony.
With the result, Pakistan have now progressed to the finals of the Asia Cup, where they will lock horns with Sri Lanka. Afghanistan, on the other hand, will engage in a dead rubber against India, as both the sides are now eliminated from the tournament.
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